The Student Government Association (SGA) held its weekly general body meeting (GBM) on Sept. 6. They discussed a resolution about abortion access and passed a bill creating a first generation and limited-income (FLI) caucus. This was the first meeting attended by the new senators of the freshman class and one new senior senator, who were all confirmed to SGA during the meeting.
Membership Privileges Amendment
Sophomore Class President Ryan Chou presented an amendment in order to ensure that the speaking procedure during meetings is more organized.
- According to sophomore Senator Jackson Morris, previously there’s been no official guidelines for senators to speak during GBMs. This would make speaking procedures official.
First generation and limited-income caucus bill
Senior Senator Sophie Liu introduced the new FLI caucus and called for any interested senators to contribute to the caucus.
- The bill passed with all representatives in favor.
Financial support for abortion travel resolution
Junior Class President Harvey McGuinness described a resolution that would ensure that the student health insurance plan covers abortion and related travel costs.
- McGuinness states that currently abortion and out-of-network care are covered under the Hopkins insurance plan. Moving forward he wants to ensure this precedent of coverage is maintained.
- McGuinness said, “What this tries to do is to call on the university to make it explicit that they will cover costs for travel or abortions services if the student has to travel between state lines.”
- He emphasized that the sooner the bill is approved the more students it will have the potential of helping.
- This was the first reading of the bill. It will be moving forward to the Committee on Health, Safety and Sustainability for further approval.
Abortion Access Resolution
Sophomore Senator Jackson Morris presented a resolution that would be published to demonstrate student government support of abortion rights.
- In response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Morris drafted a resolution citing facts about the issue and calling for legislative action. Morris stated that he consulted with a number of students to inform the content of the resolution given that it would be published under the name of SGA and therefore the student body.
- Morris described the purpose of the document, stating “Part of the idea is to send this to the lawmakers that are listed at the bottom of this resolution, and coming from a place like Hopkins it might seem like it doesn’t have any power, but when we band together we might have some possible sway or be a reasoning that someone could cite in their own work”
- Many members, such as McGuinness and sophomore Senator Dalhart Dobbs, stated that they supported the intent of the resolution but raised concerns about the way the information was presented.
- Sophomore Senator Brandon Benjamin suggested including the perspective of Hopkins clubs in order to ensure it is representative of the student body.
- Other senators suggested tabling the resolution in order to edit the document and perfect the wording. Senior Senator Elisa Rodriguez said “This is a big statement to make. This is an important statement to make, and I don’t think we should rush it just to get out as soon as possible.”
- Morris responded by saying that because abortion is a complicated issue, there will never be a document that perfectly describes student opinions. He suggested amending the document rather than tabling it once more.
- Senior Class President JiWon Woo had concerns about whether the document was representative of student opinions, whether there was sufficient citing and how specific groups would be impacted. “We don’t really know what the majority is until we do a whole referendum. I don’t want this bill to exclude other people because of their religious choices or their political beliefs,” he said.
- In response senators expressed the importance of emphasizing representation of the student body rather than neutrality. Junior Senator Ireland Parrish said, “It's crazy to say that we as a government should not be political. I think that the entire point of this government is that we should take the sight of the people who are being oppressed, such as women.”
- Woo proposed a vote to table the referendum until next week. The voting went into effect and the bill was tabled.